I was discussing the plan-do-review cycle with David Ashworth of Flintloque the other day. The plan-do-review cycle is a classic continuous improvement model used in many business disciplines, not just marketing. David commented that he saw the model as spring not a ring.
I love the idea. It gives the model three dimensions, a sense of journey, and of action.
Strategic marketing takes you on a journey. From “where you are now” to “where you want to be”.
The map is drawn. The route is planned. It’s a bespoke route that only you will travel because it depends on your product or service, your competitive environment, and on your market positioning.
Once you have planned the route, you take the journey. You do the doing.
Then comes the review stage.
The model is probably best seen as a four stage model, rather than a three stage one.
The fourth stage is “improve”. Your review may indicate that your original route was spot on and you’re keeping on track.
The review may, however, indicate that you are slightly off course and your original route could be better.
This is when you make the adjustments to improve the outcome. You want to make sure you reach your intended destination. I often find that there is no direct route from A to B but instead a jagged line.
This is fine because you don’t know what you will find along the way. No strategy or plan should be cast in stone because you will learn a great deal on your journey. You will become better informed.
So you need to be flexible, and open to change, and take the unexpected in your stride.